Beautiful Day Out "A Beautiful Day Out" – you couldn’t wish to find a more aptly named gig. Five quality bands on a glorious sunny afternoon in the best outdoor venue I’ve ever witnessed.


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Dropkick Murphys Sometime in the mid-late 80s I entered Rock City for the first time for what I always maintained was the sweatiest gig I’ve ever been to (Georgia Satellites). Admittedly 19 year old me was front and centre and having a good old mosh. The older, more damaged, me was stood at the back for this one yet still ended the gig drenched with sweat. It was a veritable sauna in there. Admittedly one with bodies flying everywhere in a joyous celebration of one of the greatest proponents of Celtic/Punk there has ever been. I rather think the young me would have had a new sweatiest gig. Dropkick Murphys have brought their juggernaut of a live show steaming once again into a sold out Rock City.


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Arcade Fire The headlines were huge, one of the biggest bands in the world were coming to play in Scunthorpe, yes Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, in England. Arcade Fire hadn’t played in England for nearly 3 years and now they were breaking that drought with a trip to Scunthorpe. Up to this point dear Reader Scunthorpe had really only been known as the butt of many a joke, but on the 7th June 2017 they were hosting one of the biggest bands on the planet. Who would have believed it !


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Black Spiders So where to start with this one. Well the parental advisory message may be both apt and too late but nevertheless anyone of a sensitive disposition should probably look away now. Sometime last year Black Spiders announced they were to be no more. One last gig was planned and that was to be it. The fans clamoured for more and eventually Pete ‘Spider’ Spiby kicked in the door of their collective padded cell and unleashed his Spiders on the UK one last time. An eight date "F*** Off Black Spiders" Final Tour.


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Skinny Lister It’s the second night of Skinny Lister’s headline, sold out UK tour on the back of third album 'The Devil, The Heart & The Fight'. Skinny Lister always seem to be gigging. I have no idea when they find the time to write and record new material but they manage it and the quality never slips. Their third album is glossier and more polished than 'Down On Deptford Broadway' and 'Forge & Flagon' but it still has that distinctive Skinny Lister feel. Punk Shanties I think has to be the accepted Lister genre. Certainly live the new songs get the full on SL treatment.


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Blossoms As a callow youth I thought I was too cool for support bands. That changed sometime in the ‘90s when I discovered that the band I missed out on supporting Inspiral Carpets was a fledgling Oasis, going under the moniker Rain. Now sometimes it just can’t be helped. I was at a wedding yesterday which meant by the time we got to the O2 we’d already missed Rory Wynne. Cabbage have been on my must see list for some time but despite my promises to myself I always keep missing them. I did manage to catch 5 minutes of them once supporting Blossoms at The Leadmill. This time I was determined to catch the full set. Failed..


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Frank Turner Anyone who knows me will know I love a good name drop so let’s get that out of the way first. I was lucky enough to be involved with a live interview with Frank Turner on Sine FM the afternoon of the gig. I mention this not only for shameful name dropping but also because one of the things we touched on was support acts for the tour. Frank hand picks his support acts and they are invariably worth watching.


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Airbourne A lot of long hair, black shirts, and too much leather in the streets could only mean one thing: Rock’n’roll was back in town. Tonight it took the form of the spectacular Aussie hard-rockers Airbourne, who were supported by the equally energetic and powerful Crobot and The Franklys.


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Skinny Lister ut that was when Skinny Lister were the support act… tonight they were headlining and I have to say they pulled it off magnificently. From the rabble rousing voices to the folk-punk sounds and emotions, every member of the audience was mesmerised… either that or they were just waiting for Lorna, their female co-lead singer, to pass round the huge flagon of Rum she was carrying. Yes folks, Skinny Lister don’t just get the audience in the mood with their music they also give them a little nip of Rum to warm the cockles.


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The Icicle Works Early start for this one but Ian McNabb doesn’t mess about when it comes to playing live. The first time I saw him (solo acoustic set) he informed us to phone the babysitter to let them know we’d be late. Tonight the current Icicle Works line up is on stage for 8pm and leave at around 11pm. Even with a 15 minute break that’s serious value for money.


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The Wonder Stuff There’s gigs, there’s great gigs and then there’s gigs when everything is just perfect and lodges itself permanently in your music sodden brain. For the perfect gig certain things have to fall into place, in this writer’s humble opinion. The venue has to be intimate but large enough not to feel claustrophobic. The sound has to be top notch. We’ve all been at gigs where the sound is such a mess that a band can be 2 minutes into a song before you realise you know said song, and know it well. The crowd have to be up for it without being over the top. The bands have to be on fire but more than that they have to be enjoying themselves. A band who look like they don’t want to be there are just no fun at all.


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Public Service Broadcasting Public Service Broadcasting’s debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain (with the emphasis on Entertain) seemed to come out of nowhere to a myriad of excellent reviews. Coupled with live shows that took the whole PSB concept to another level Public Service Broadcasting were obviously ones to watch, although every review seemed to come with the caveat ‘limited shelf life’.


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Seasick Steve Rarely does the O2 in Sheffield get this rammed, but the fact that the bearded enigma from Oakland, California, Steven Gene Wold, AKA Seasick Steve is in town, has meant that tonight it is full, very full.


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Dropkick Murphys The pipes start playing and we’re into Your Spirits Alive. Rock City is already bouncing with bodies flying everywhere before security drag the crowd surfers out, usher them to the side of the pit so they can dive in and start again. Dropkick Murphys are relentless. It’s a full frontal Celtic punk assault and it’s magnificent. A 26 song set picked from the majority of their back catalogue with some spectacular covers thrown in for good measure. (The reggae/Celtic Guns Of Brixton was very special indeed). First of these covers was AC/DC’s T.N.T. As bassist/singer and primary songwriter Ken Casey has stated, ‘I think our goal is to be the AC/DC of Celtic punk rock’.


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